Akiko's work is a fusion of Japanese and British ceramic traditions, she draws upon traditional Japanese methods when making her ceramics. Her pieces are deeply textured yet utilitarian in form, using rough dark clay to create a veil between the rough layers underneath and the smoothness of the glazed exterior. Glazed in soft whites, greys, greens and natural colours, her forms showcase the thick volcanic glazes that run down the sides or pool on the surface.
Akiko Hirai was born in Japan in March 1970. She initially studied cognitive psychology in Japan and obtained her degree before coming to England. She took a degree course in ceramics at the University of Westmin- ster, then went on to graduate from Central St. Martins, she currently works as Head of Ceramics in Kensington and Chelsea College and works from her studio in Stoke Newington, London.